2014: The Year Propaganda Came Of Age

Submitted by Raúl Ilargi Meijer  –  The Automatic Earth


Dorothea Lange Drought hit OK farm family on way to CA Aug 1936

From just about as early in my life as I can remember, growing up as a child in Holland, there were stories about World War II, and not just about Anne Frank and the huge amounts of people who, like her, had been dragged off to camps in eastern Europe never to come back, but also about the thousands who had risked their lives to hide Jewish and other refugees, and the scores who had been executed for doing so, often betrayed by their own neighbors.

And then there were those who had risked their lives in equally courageous ways to get news out to people, putting out newspapers and radio broadcasts just so there would be a version of events out there that was real, and not just what the Germans wanted one to believe. This happened in all Nazi – and Nazi friendly – occupied European nations. The courage of these people is hard to gauge for us today, and I’m convinced there’s no way to say whom amongst us would show that kind of bravery if we were put to the test; I certainly wouldn’t be sure about myself.

Still, without wanting to put myself anywhere near the level of those very very real heroes, please don’t get me wrong about that, that’s not what I mean, I was thinking about them with regards to what is happening in our media today. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t think Joseph Goebbels had anything on US and European media today.

That propaganda as a strategic and political instrument has been refined to a huge extent over the past 70-odd years since Goebbels first picked up on Freud’s lessons on how to influence the unconscious mind, and the ‘mass-mind’, as a way to ‘steer’ an entire people, not just as a means to make them buy detergent. These days, the media can make people believe just about anything, and they have the added benefit that they can pose as friends of the people, not the enemy. Continue reading

The Cradle of Democracy Rocks the Autocrats and Kleptocrats

By Bruno de Landevoisin
acropolis-of-athens-7 (2)

On the old continent, this December 29th, a succinct political showdown is scheduled to take place which may well become a defining moment for our entirely unsettled new millenium.  What is at stake is none other than the prosperity of the common man pitted against the privilege of concentrated power.  Lamentably, this deliberate dogmatic divide has relentlessly defined human civilization for the ages.

What is at hand isn’t so much about lofty ideals.  It’s not about Socialism.  It’s not about Capitalism.  It’s not about Communism.  It’s not about being a progressive, a conservative or a liberal. It’s not about left vs right.  Forget all those dumbed down dichotomies.  It’s much more fundamental than all of that.  Quite simply, it’s about People vs. Power, that’s it, nothing more.  Those that have and wield institutional power, and those that do not.  It’s as elementary and base as that I’m afraid.

Take a good look around, I defy you to point to a single socioeconomic construct in our supposedly enlightened and advanced society of today which is not essentially determined by that crude polarizing characterization.  Whether it be our bought and paid for Political Class, our rapacious Banking Sector, our completely captured Regulators, our entitled Multinational Corporations, our entrenched Governmental Agencies, our marauding Military Industrial Complex, our fleecing Healthcare Providers, our muzzled Free Press, our hijacked Justice System, or our grossly overpaid CEOs, Athletes, and Entertainers, they all have one thing in common, and I assure you that it’s not the common good that they share.  What they seek above all else is to expand existing institutional dominion and their own privileges within it.

Sad to say, but at the end of the day, perhaps dog eat dog is what we humans are really best at, and the only state of being we’re actually capable of.   Maybe all those exalted ideals of enlightened forms of governance are just a load of crap to make us feel better about ourselves.   Judging by the overt self seeking avarice that dictates the pace of just about everything these days, it sure seems that way.

The odd thing about all of this, especially for our nation, is that America was actually born out of a revolt against the oppressive power of institutional entitlement.   Does the following ring a bell:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The founding fathers certainly understood the suffocating and stifling nature of undue privilege.  Thank God they had the enlightened foresight to realize that liberating men, not subjugating them, was the most effective way to both govern and grow a nation, not to mention the righteous and moral thing to do.  We’re not talking about mandating equality here, we are talking about demanding the liberty and opportunity for each of us to strive to become equals to the most admired and successful among us, should we so choose. Continue reading

The Keynesian End Game Crystallizes In Japan’s Monetary Madness

If the BOJ’s mad money printers were treated as monetary pariahs by the rest of the world, it would at least imply that a modicum of sanity remains on the planet. But just the opposite is the case. Establishment institutions like the IMF, the US treasury and the other major central banks urge them on, while the Keynesian arson squad led by Professor Krugman actually faults Japan for being too tepid with its “stimulus”.

Now comes several new data points that absolutely confirm Japan is a financial mad house—-even as its policy model is embraced by mainstream officials and analysts peering from a distance. Front and center is the newly reported fact from the Cabinet Office that Japan’s household savings rate plunged to minus 1.3% in the most recent fiscal year, thereby entering negative territory for the first time since records were started in 1955.

Indeed, Japan had been heralded as a nation of savers only a generation ago. During the era before it’s plunge into bubble finance in the late 1980s, households routinely saved 15-25% of income. But after nearly three decades of Keynesian policies, Japan has now stumbled into an insuperable demographic/financial trap; and one that is unusually transparent and rigidly delineated, to boot. Continue reading

Magic Growth Numbers From The Government

Submitted by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – Institute for Public Economy

Everyone wants good news, so the government makes it up. The latest fiction is that US real GDP grew 4.6% in the second quarter and 5% in the third.

Where did this growth come from?

Not from rising real consumer incomes.

Not from rising consumer credit.

Not from rising real retail sales.

Not from the housing sector.

Not from a trade surplus.

The growth came from a Bureau of Economic Analysis survey of consumer spending on services. The BEA found that spending on Obamacare drove the US real GDP growth to 5% in the third quarter. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-23/here-reason-surge-q3-gdp

In America, unlike in other countries, a huge chunk of medical spending goes to insurance company profits, not to health care. Another big chunk goes to paperwork, which has a variety of purposes such as collecting personal information on patients and combating fraud (probably the paperwork costs more than fraud). Another chunk goes for tests and procedures in order to justify further procedures. For example, if a doctor thinks a patient’s diagnosis requires a MRI, he must often first order an x-ray to establish that a cheaper procedure does not suffice. If a cancerous skin growth needs to come off, first a biopsy must be done to establish that it is a cancer so that a needless removal is not performed. And, of course, medical practicians must order unnecessary tests in order to protect themselves from the liability of relying on their medical judgment. Continue reading

The Daily Debt Rattle

Submitted by Raúl Ilargi Meijer  –  The Automatic Earth

Natural Gas Drops Below $3 for First Time Since 2012 (Bloomberg)
Oil Caps Fifth Weekly Loss on Global Supply Glut Concern (Bloomberg)
Saudi Arabia Maintains Spending Plans in 2015 Despite Oil Slide (WSJ)
Saudis To Hit ‘Panic Button’ At $40 Oil: Energy CEO (CNBC)
Drilling Cutbacks Mean Service Companies Forced to Scrap Rigs (Oilprice.com)
Gartman: Get Ready For Oil Bankruptcies (CNBC)
China November Industrial Profits Suffer Sharpest Fall In 27 Months (Reuters)
China’s Shadow-Banking Boom Is Over (WSJ)
Game Over Japan: Real Wages Crash, Savings Rate Turns Negative (Zero Hedge)
Brazilian Oil Company Petrobras Sued By US City In Corruption Scandal (BBC)
Nicaragua Canal A Potential Threat To The US And Western Powers (RT)
The Cradle of Democracy Rocks the Autocrats (StealthFlation)
A Capitalist Christmas (Mises Inst.)
60 Prominent Germans Appeal Against Another War In Europe (Zero Hedge)
Gorbachev: Putin Saved Russia From Disintegration (RT)
Putin: It Is Time to Play Your Ace in the Hole (Daily Bell)
Google Further Crapifies Search, Exploiting Both Users and Advertisers (NC)
Apple Spent $56 Billion On Buybacks In 2014 (MarketWatch)
Strange Predictions For The Future From 1930 (BBC)

Continue Reading: Debt Rattle December 27 2014 – The Automatic Earth

RUSSIA’S NEW MILITARY DOCTRINE

Submitted by Jim Quinn  –  The Burning Platform

Russia’s new military doctrine lists NATO, US as major foreign threats

AFP Photo / Natalia Kolesnikova

Russia has adopted an updated version of its military doctrine, which reflects the emergence of new threats against its national security. NATO military buildup and American Prompt Global Strike concept are listed among them.

The new doctrine was approved on Friday by President Vladimir Putin. Its core remains unchanged from the previous version. The Russian military remains a defensive tool which the country pledges to use only as a last resort.

Also unchanged are the principles of the use of nuclear weapons which Russia adheres to. Their primary goal is to deter potential enemies from attacking Russia, but it would use them to protect itself from a military attack – either nuclear or conventional – threatening its existence.

The new sections of the doctrine outline the threat Russia sees in NATO’s expansion and military buildup and the fact that the alliance is taking upon itself “global functions realized with violation of international law.”

The doctrine lists among major foreign military threats “the creation and deployment of global strategic antiballistic missile systems that undermines the established global stability and balance of power in nuclear missile capabilities, the implementation of the ‘prompt strike’ concept, intent to deploy weapons in space and deployment of strategic conventional precision weapons.”

The Yury Dolgoruky nuclear-powered submarine.(RIA Novosti / Pavel Kononov)

The Yury Dolgoruky nuclear-powered submarine.(RIA Novosti / Pavel Kononov)

Continue reading